Abu Dhabi: Al Wahda will be looking to avenge their 2-0 first leg loss when they host PFC Lokomotiv in the Group B of the 2019 AFC Champions League at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Tuesday. The action starts at 10pm.
The home side has been on a roll ever since they lost their opener against Lokomotiv — winning the remaining three matches. It has placed them on the threshold of qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time since 2007. Sitting at the top of the table with nine points, a draw is enough for Al Wahda to seal their berth.
“Tomorrow’s game will be a free entrance and hence we want all the fans to be there to support us as they are our 12th man. The Ramadan month has started and so it will be extremely tough for the players,” said Al Wahda’s coach Henk ten Cate, whose men are fighting a three-way battle with capital rivals Al Jazira and Al Ain for the third qualifying spot to the 2020 AFC Champions League.
“It will be a difficult game against Lokomotiv because they are one of the best teams in our group. I think they have been a bit unlucky so far,” said Ten Cate adding that his side didn’t play well against Lokomotiv in the first leg and it was due to his tactical error.
“It was my mistake as I did things in a different way and when we changed it, it was too late. The second half we played good football. I give my team good chance for tomorrow because they have lot of confidence. We need just one point but we will be only playing to win,” revealed the Dutchman.
Lokomotiv, on the other hand, have slipped in the standings following their opening win against Al Wahda, and are currently third with four points behind Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad. They will be desperate to win this contest and put their qualification hopes back on track. The Tashkent side has participated in the last four editions of the competition, but have only reached the quarter-finals in 2016.
“It is an important contest for both teams and I think it will be a very important game. Unfortunately, we couldn’t show our best game in the last outing but we have two more games left and we want to win both these games,” asserted Lokomotiv coach Andrei Fyodorov.
UAE’s Al Wasl, meanwhile, has an uphill task when they visit Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in a Group A fixture.
Laurentiu Reghecampf’s men are at the bottom of the group with three points, having failed to add to their 1-0 win against Al Nassr on the opening matchday. Any slip-up against Al Nassr at the King Fahd International Stadium would send them crashing out of the competition’s group stages for the second year in a row.
Rui Vitoria’s side is also expected to go all out as they too are looking to end a nine years drought of reaching the AFC Champions League knockout stage.